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Byron Shire
August 12, 2022

Post-flood biz survey highlights the damage

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Flooding in Byron Bay 30 March, 2022. Photo Paul Blackmore.

A majority of local businesses will change the nature of their operations in response to the February/March floods, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted in April and May, attracted 62 responses across a range of industries including accommodation and food, manufacturing, recreation and retail.

Taken as a whole, the survey painted a grim picture of post-flood life for business in the Shire.

More than 70 per cent of respondents said they had suffered direct damage, with around one-third indicating that the cost of repairs would be more than $20,000.

Eighteen per cent of respondents said they were considering permanently closing their business, with 15 per cent giving serious thought to relocating.

Mullumbimby’s CBD under water Monday 28 February. Photo Simon Haslam.

Pivoting business

On a more positive note, 80 per cent of respondents to the survey said that, rather than considering closure, they were planning to adapt to the situation by pivoting their business.

Moving to more online sales was the most common move for those surveyed, but there were a range of other options being considered.

This included offering a mobile service, finding a new location, having fewer market stalls, and generally scaling back operations.

In terms of immediate needs, finding new or renovated premises, replacing stock and supporting mental health and wellbeing were the top responses among the surveyed businesses.

A large majority indicated that accessing government assistance and grants would be the most useful support they could receive.

‘We are not surprised by these findings but they are important because they help Council build a case for Australian and NSW Government assistance for our businesses,’ Lisa Richards, Business and Visitor Economy Officer, said.

‘Immediately after the first flood staff walked the streets and visited more than 100 businesses that had been hardest hit and the information we received in the survey backed up what business owners and employees told staff immediately after the event.’

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